Meeting for Marriage: There is no Place for Trickery and Deception in a Meeting Between a Couple for Marriage―Fear Allah and be Honest

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In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

It is important when considering marriage proposals that people are transparent, straightforward, truthful and honest―and that the couple maintain that honesty between themselves once they are married. There should be no place for deceit, trickery and lying in a righteous marriage, especially when it comes to rights that one spouse has over the other.

It is not allowed for a woman before her marriage or in a meeting with her suitor to hide behind an appearance of modesty, beauty, decency and chastity while concealing from her suitor that which is obligatory for him to know before he marries her, such as a physical or mental disability, or a chronic illness, or a psychological issue that disturbs her (such as depression, etc.). That is because these deficiencies are reasons that may lead to divorce and the breakdown of a marriage―especially if this information was deliberately withheld from the husband. And the same applies to the man who proposes to a woman. So, for example, he cannot withhold from her the fact that he cannot have children or cannot work, or that he is constantly sick, disabled or that he has a sexually transmitted disease.

There is some proof from the Sunnah that indicates the importance of honesty in such matters. Asmā bint Abi Bakr (radiyallāhu ‘anhā), narrated that a woman came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said: “I have a daughter who is about to be newly wedded. She was afflicted with smallpox and thus her hair has fallen out. Can I add false hair to her head?” So, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “Allah has cursed the woman who adds false hair and the woman who asks for it.” (Muslim 2122) Also, when Mu’āwiyah bin Abi Sufyān (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) came to Madinah for the last time, he delivered a sermon and he took out a tuft of hair and said, “I never thought that someone other than the Jews would do such a thing. The Prophet (ﷺ) labelled such a practice as lying speech (zūr).” Meaning, the use of false hair. (Al-Bukhari 3488)

So these narrations prove that it is not allowed to deceive or give a false impression seeking to conceal a genuine defect. A brother and sister who are looking into each others’ character and suitability for marriage should inform the other side if they have illnesses and defects such as blindness, deafness, diabetes, cancer, infertility, schizophrenia, depression, the affliction of magic, jinn possession, etc.

Asmā bint Abi Bakr (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā) reported that a woman came to Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said: “I have a co-wife. Is there any harm for me if I give her the false impression [of receiving something from my husband which he has not actually given to me]?” So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “The one who creates such a (false impression) of receiving what one has not been given is like one who wears the garment of falsehood.” (Muslim 2130) Imām Muslim brought this hadeeth under the heading: “Chapter: The prohibition of wearing a garment of falsehood and pretending to have that which has not been given to him.”

And the same applies to the man when considering marriage and proposing to a woman―he is not allowed to give a false impression of himself, exaggerate with false speech and deceive the woman. He must be transparent about: previous marriages, children, where he lives, where he intends to house her, whether he can provide for her, whether he intends hijrah, his immigration status, whether he attends duroos and so on.

As it relates to mentioning one’s previous sins to a potential husband or wife, then they must not inform each other of that―whether they have committed fornication in the past, or they used to drink, smoke, visit bars and clubs, etc. The Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

“O People, the time has come for you to observe the limits of Allah. Whoever has had any of these ugly sins befall him should cover them up with the veil of Allah [and repent to Allah]. Whoever reveals to us his wrong action, we will carry out what is in the Book of Allah against him.” (Reported by Mālik in Al-Muwatta, 1514, See Saheeh Al-Jāmi’, no. 149)

Furthermore, whoever sinned with a major sin and then repented, they are not to be labelled as sinners, such as calling them a fornicator, drunkard, etc. Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

التَّائِبُ مِنْ الذَّنْبِ كَمَنْ لَا ذَنْبَ لَهُ

“The one who repented from sin is like the one who has no sin.” (Ibn Mājah, no. 4250, Al-Bayhaqi in As-Sunan, 20561, declared saheeh by Al-Albani in Saheeh Al-Jāmi’, 3008; see al-Mughni 7/515)

And if it is the case that a woman has lost her virginity, and the suitor has made it a condition that his wife must be a virgin, then she should refuse to marry him if she is not a virgin, withdraw from the proposal without having to give him a reason or expose herself. And if it is the tradition of a people that they expect their virgin son to marry a virgin woman, then she should not entertain his proposal (if she is not a virgin) and refuse his request, and she is not obligated to give a reason for her refusal.

Note that any meeting between a man and woman for marriage must include the presence of the woman’s guardian (normally her father).

And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation, and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and all his Companions.

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